There have been quite a few adventure games that lets you solve mysteries going around. Unlike most of them that have been reviewed here, which are hidden object games, this one is a more modern and fleshed out adventure game like Heavy Rain and L.A. Noire that lets you hunt down a serial killer by gathering clues and piecing together prior events in order to find the perpetrator and bring him to justice. This game though does take it a bit further in a way.
Murdered: Soul Suspect is an adventure game with stealth elements developed by Airtight Games and published by Square Enix. It has a whiff of what L.A. Noire aimed to be, which is a murder mystery for modern audiences. This one though has a twist though that makes the title even more appropriate. You play as someone who does get murdered, and you have to hunt down your killer and bring him to justice from beyond the grave.
The story takes place in Salem, Massachusetts, which is perfect for a murder mystery such as this. You play as Ronan O’Connor, a hard boiled detective who is hunting down the Bell Killer, a serial killer on the loose. But then, the killer gets him and the game starts off with Ronan dying, with his life flashing before your eyes. You then spend most of the game as his ghost, still trying to get through that unfinished business instead of joining his wife in the afterlife.
Judging from the visuals, it does have quite a bit to give, but it’s no genuine next-gen game as the graphics do feature textures that are mostly flat and some animations that aren’t as good as they should be. The neo-noir aesthetics do help excuse them though, and Ronan’s character model and animations are pretty good on their own. What supports the presentation is the ambience that does create an atmosphere of mystery and intrigue that really sets the tone.
As Ronan’s ghost, you go from crime scene to crime scene, collecting clues and using your abilities to make sense of things. Being a ghost, you can walk through walls and other objects, as well as possess people to see into the memories of other people. Through possession, you can see into their last moments and see what happened, as well as subconsciously see why you have to get this guy, even when you’re dead. You also get to possess cats to get past certain areas, which makes for some interesting sequences, including being able to make yourself meow and do other feline stuff.
There are some combat sequences here, although they are mostly inundated by quick time events. You do go up against some intimidating enemies though, but giving them the business with well-timed button presses may not feel that satisfying. There are also quite a few technical issues, which is quite a shame as there shouldn’t be a lot of in a game like this.
Despite its relatively good looks that give it a faux-next gen exterior, its gameplay is a lot like most other adventure titles from the past, like Indigo Prophecy and such.
If you like murder mysteries and don’t mind irritating puzzles, then make sure that you don’t watch playthroughs or see spoilers and get this game as the ending is indeed one that must be seen for yourself. The game itself doesn’t play as well as it should, but the story does do well for itself. Just take note that it’s not really a next-gen title.
Tested in PC. Final Score: 6.5/10